Quick Storage Loft

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Project by MarkTheFiddler posted 09-30-2013 02:50 AM 1803 views 1 time favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch


No fancy photography required here. It’s just a storage loft.

My garage is a dismal mess. I have no storage room and no room to work. This loft is the first step in my garage rehab.

I had to move a boatload of stuff out of the way. We are talking all of my benchtop tools, 2 rolling tool chests, about 500 pounds of granite and other tile, tons of chemicals, diy mags and owners manuals, chemicals, small tool chests, 5 gallon drums of urethane glue, camping equipment, and tons of everything else that got dumped in that corner.

This was the second hardest part of the entire job.

I decided to go up 6’3”-ish from the slightly sloped floor. I used the stud finder to mark every stud location. Then I screwed an extra hand to the wall.

I really thought I took a few shots of installing support studs. Nope – didn’t do that. Anyhow, I predrilled a 2X4, added some starter screws, set the board against the wall (thank you extra hand) then drove my first screw. As I figured, the extra hand supporting the stud and my precise 6’3” mark were not level. I raised the board until square then drilled the screw on home.

Or so I say – Yeah. Hammer drill. Old metal level on top of my 2X4. The stud in the wall was not predrilled. Lot’s of vibration. Old metal level danced off the stud. Old metal level popped me on the cheek. Mark got a boo-boo and cried. ;) Old metal level will be clamped with a quick grip in the future.

Now then. 2 screws in place. Predrilled the rest and drove them home. Followed the same technique for the short wall. Well almost. I bypassed the boo-boo part with a quick grip clamp.

Here’s the deal. These 2×4’s are not part of the deck for the loft. They were installed to be a shelf for the deck. I suppose I could have used 2X2s and saved $2 but …. I didn’t. HAH.

Next up is the sub deck. Once again – I failed to take photos. Grrr…

I clamped a cross beam to a leg of my mega storage shelf. I took a full stud and sideways clamped it to another cross beam. It’s pretty secure with the full length stud resting on top of the two cross beams and side clamped. Secure enough at least for me to predrill 2 holes and sink a few screws. No juggling act going on here.

I went ahead and marked 20 inch centers!? Who the heck uses 20 inch centers? No one unless they’re weird. In fact the outside wall of my house has 16 inch centers. No surprise there. If I had marked 16 inch centers, my cross beam would have covered the exact spot I wanted to secure the deck understructure to the wall stud. If I had used 24 inch centers, the second cross beam would have covered it. 20 inch centers it was.

Side clamp, predrilled 2 holes, sank the crews. It went pretty fast and easy, I was tempted to side clamp all the cross beams at once, predrill every center and drive all the screws in an assembly line but I just decided to be sure the cross beams didn’t dance around. A quick change bit and one at a time made short work of it.

I flipped the support deck over and did the same thing, all over again, redundantly, a second time.

I got a nice, square corners, sturdy, 3×8 foot sub deck out of the deal.

The next part was magic. I just wanted to see if I would need help for the next part and no one was around. I suppose that sub deck couldn’t weigh more than forty pound so I hoisted it up and set it on the support studs. It stayed right where I set it. COOL! I grabbed some quick grip clamps and anchored it to the support studs. I grabbed a 2X4 and a few more quick grips and fashioned a temporary support column.

Wow – did that ever make it easy to predrill and screw the deck to the wall.

I grabbed the old metal level and gave it my sternest, don’t you dare pop me in cheek again look, and checked the level on the support column. First I got it level side to side and front to back. Then I leveled the deck to the support column and pencil marked the column. Off comes the old metal level with my thanks for not popping me on the cheek. Off came the quick grips. A quick cut on the table saw sled then back up the support column went. Yeah Yeah Yeah. Check level, quick grip the level, quick grip the column, predrill and so one.

BTW, I attached the column to the inside corner of the deck.

I have seen a fair share of warped 2 by fours that just couldn’t stand the pressure. I also want something other than screws to support the deck. I went ahead and skinned my support column with 2 more 2X4s making it a 6X4. Uh – huh. You gotta love 2X4 math. Anyhow, the additional 2×4s were cut to fit precisely under the sub deck. Now I had my extra support.

It is NOW that my big burly neighbor comes over and says – “Que Freg… haces?” Bad word has been censored. It was his way of saying, “Hello my fine neighbor. What are you building?” We went ahead and grabbed a hold of the sub deck and between the two of us we managed to do 2.75 pull ups. My contribution was .5. That was a bit over 400 pounds hanging from the structure. My contribution was 185 pounds and he still outdid me on the pull ups! Neither of us really feels like bragging. Besides, I have 18 years on him. That’s my excuse. ;)

Ok, I took my 5/8 plywood and clamped it to four saw horses. I measured 12 inches plus 1.4 inches for the circular saw guide on each end then clamped down a 2X4. I had shove a 2X4 off cut under the center of the plywood because it was sagging way from the 2X4 guide. When I got the board and plywood flush, I ran the circular saw down the entire length. I only cut 1 sawhorse in half… Ok I’m not really that boneheaded. At that moment an old metal level flew out of the garage and popped me on the cheek.

Naturally, big burly neighbor is gone again but it was a small matter to hoist the 5/8 sheet up and screw it down. I stuck a carpenter square on top of the flooring aligned with my centers and the plywood edge as a quick guide for predrilling the holes.

It was a joy to put all upholstery and flooring fluffy stuff on top of the new loft. I was thrilling to rebuild the old metal shelves to fit exactly what it was destined to hold.

The absolute hardest part of the job came next. There wasn’t enough time to build some rolling storage. All of my cra… was out on the driveway and side yard. It had to come back in. I no longer had the old shelves so I just jammed everything back into the garage.

I want to tell you what that feels like. It’s like working, sweating and getting otherwise filthy for five days in the same clothes. Then you finally take a nice shower and get all cleaned up. Then you put those nasty clothes right back on. I tell you the 500 pounds of granite and tile magically doubled in weight. There will be another Sunday but I so look forward to next week where I can get my pitiful garage a little closer to be being organized and, HEAVEN forbid, I can make a workbench.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

17 comments so far

View NaptownWood's profile


293 posts in 1994 days

#1 posted 09-30-2013 03:19 AM

I did something similar in my garage , i think if you go to my workshop profile, you can see some of it. I screwed mine to the studs, and then hung it . By that i mean that you can attach a sturdy eyelet to the shelf, and one to a ceiling joist, and then string a cable through them, and voila, you just reclaimed the space taken by the support post.

-- Witty signature line still pending

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2309 days

#2 posted 09-30-2013 03:28 AM

Thanks for the advice. In fact I was toying with the idea before I started. In retrospect I should gone that way. I had no idea how well the support studs would take most of the weight. I think I’ll change it over next week. I’ll take back any space I can get. Especially if that space is a major obstruction.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Joe Lyddon's profile (online now)

Joe Lyddon

10241 posts in 4173 days

#3 posted 09-30-2013 03:35 AM

I know that FEELING very well…

My shop is still very crowded and crammed…

I have to bite the bullet and THROW AWAY ALOT of GOOD STUFF that I will use someday! LOL
... but have had for years without touching… except to keep moving it around!
... “but it’s SO GOOD stuff”... Yep… I know how it is… LOL

You have to go for every little bit of storage you can get… Not fun…

Good Luck!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View CarverShavings's profile


32 posts in 1925 days

#4 posted 09-30-2013 04:01 AM

+1 on storage problems. +1 on joist support. All in all – well done and a great walk through. Funny as hell too!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2309 days

#5 posted 09-30-2013 04:21 AM

Joe, that’s the fifth time I have moved that granite around. I NEED to use it soon or put it on Craigslist. I’d like to use it before it breaks my back. The stuff that would make me cry to part with is the sandstone tile. The ‘grain in the sandstone is every bit as incredible as a highly figured board.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View NaptownWood's profile


293 posts in 1994 days

#6 posted 09-30-2013 04:44 AM

Why stop at 8’? I was lucky to have tall ceilings and did one about 40’ long.

You can see barely the cables spaced around. All the eyelets are about 1” into the ceiling joists, and the threads on them are gnarly. All of the cable, and hardware was only like $40. I can hang on it and it doesn’t budge, plus im not putting engine blocks up there or anything.

Now, if you can engineer something for above the garage door for sheet goods storage, then let me know. I have this thought going on in my head for something up there on a pulley and hinges that you can pull down like on of those old school folding attic stairs thingies,just on a stronger scale.

Anyhoo, before you go selling that house, be sure to check local electrical code for free space around the breaker box.

And way to go on increasing storage in the garage, it looks pretty strong

-- Witty signature line still pending

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2309 days

#7 posted 09-30-2013 05:52 AM

Why stop at 8 indeed. I really like your loft set up. Thank you very much for sharing your ideas and setup.

About the fusebox. I have no idea if I gave enough clearance. Looks like I have a bit of research to do.

About selling the house. Not happening. I have spilled blood trying to make it our castle. But, I have in mind to have an electrician change out the fuse box. I may have to pull it down temporarily. ;)

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21117 posts in 3226 days

#8 posted 09-30-2013 12:38 PM

Nice going , Mark Use that air space. I find myself doing that all the time and even putting stuff up in the floor joists.
I’m finding I have stuff stored in cabinets and that I don’t know is there any more and I go out and buy it again. If I can store it where i can see it, that is better!..........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View BusterB's profile


1970 posts in 2129 days

#9 posted 09-30-2013 02:13 PM

Nice storage project Mark…I sure could use something along those lines in my garage. Would have a rough time convincing my wife it wouldnt fall on her car though…lol Maybe if I got a real carpenter to istall it…lol

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2309 days

#10 posted 09-30-2013 03:04 PM


I like that air space comment. You said you store things up between the joists. I’m guessing your ceiling isn’t finished out. I like the idea.

Buster, I’ve seen your stuff my friend. Your wife has nothing to worry about.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2413 days

#11 posted 09-30-2013 03:43 PM

Nice storage solution, and one I confess I’ve used in the past.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6093 posts in 3315 days

#12 posted 09-30-2013 04:07 PM

Dang, Mark….Your shop just got plum out of hand…..I wouldn’t be able to find anything in there…….Are your fiddles buried up in any of that….?.....Just joking, of course…..Looks like you’re well on your way to gettin’‘er squared away… can never have enough storage…...just like clamps…...!!!!!!!!!!!

-- " It's a rat race out there, and the rats are winning....!!"

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2309 days

#13 posted 09-30-2013 05:33 PM

Yup John. I have seen pictures of your shop. You are way beyond my remedial needs. I hope I can take it down one day and end up with a shop like yours.

Rick, I finally found my leather gig bag. Cash value is
Not too far from a small fortune. My wife kind of cleared my car one day and threw the bag onto a pile. Although I’m glad I still have it, I’ve got some testing to do.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Jeff's profile


17 posts in 2174 days

#14 posted 09-30-2013 11:46 PM

Nice…..... these posts have just solved my storage problems in the workshop. Won’t be back there until next spring but now I have project so I can avoid the bathroom renovations I’m expected to finish. (at least right away)

-- Muskoka Jeff

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2309 days

#15 posted 10-01-2013 01:06 AM

Lol Jeff. Glad we could help.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

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